Georgia Pulse: A year in review
The following are some of the top stories that were included in ‘Georgia Pulse’ in 2020 in chronological order…
Georgia ‘Obamacare’ finally stable: More companies, sign-ups for 2020
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It’s official: At least for this year, the Georgia Obamacare exchange market has stabilized. Sign-ups for 2020 health coverage under the Affordable Care Act increased slightly in the state, to 463,910, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. | READ MORE
Surprise billing, maternal mortality, PBMs: [Georgia] Lawmakers talk health care agenda
Georgia Health News
A key state senator said Tuesday that he is optimistic a compromise plan on easing the problem of surprise medical billing will finally pass the Georgia General Assembly this year. | READ MORE
MAG president discusses flu, coronavirus on WSB Radio
WSB Radio
Medical Association of Georgia President Andrew Reisman, M.D., addressed the flu/flu vaccine and the coronavirus on ‘Belinda Skelton's Atlanta Living’ show on WSB Radio on Saturday, January 25. | READ MORE
Could federal Medicaid idea reshape Georgia waiver?
Georgia Health News
A new federal initiative on Medicaid could wind up altering Georgia’s waiver proposal on extending coverage to low-income adults. | READ MORE
Family sues after distracted driver killed son (features MAG member Charles Wilmer, M.D.)
CBS News
A Texas family has filed a lawsuit against Energy Transfer Partners, a company whose truck driver was allegedly watching a video on his phone when he hit and killed their son. Paramedics at the scene said the driver’s phone was playing pornography when it was recovered from the crash. | READ MORE
It’s time for tort reform in Georgia (by MAG President Andrew Reisman, M.D.)
Georgia Health News
[MAG] is part of a diverse coalition that is calling for lawmakers to once again reform the state’s tort system to avert a crisis that could force physicians here to cut back on high-risk services, or relocate elsewhere, or simply retire because they won’t be able to afford or obtain medical malpractice insurance. | READ MORE
10% of COVID-19 cases in Georgia are among health care workers
Georgia Health News
Ten percent of the people known to have been infected with COVID-19 in Georgia are health care workers, state figures show. | READ MORE
[Georgia] Budget cuts for mental health, disabilities alarm patient advocates
Georgia Health News
Judy Fitzgerald, commissioner of the agency that oversees mental health and substance abuse services, gave that stark assessment in January to state legislators who were considering budget cuts to her department. Now, even deeper cuts are on the table. | READ MORE
Racism is a public health issue and ‘police brutality must stop,’ medical groups say
As protests over George Floyd's death continue nationwide, several doctors' groups – the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians – are emphasizing that racism is a public health issue and they're calling for police brutality to stop. |READ MORE
[AMA president and MAG member] Dr. Patrice Harris: A steady voice of leadership during a deadly pandemic
NBC News
Serving as the face and leader of the largest and most respected organization of physicians in the United States – during the COVID-19 crisis, no less – was a country mile from watching a television show and dreaming in Bluefield, West Virginia. But [Dr. Patrice] Harris, whose presidency ended this week, handled it with grace, according to health experts. | READ MORE
Worrisome budget cuts ahead for [Georgia’s] health programs
Georgia Health News
As a result of the economic calamity created by COVID-19, the state budget is hurtling toward sizable spending reductions in vital areas – an average of 11 percent across state agencies, or $2.6 billion. But the worst time to cut such programs, experts say, is during a public health crisis. | READ MORE

COVID-19 lawsuit protections passed for Georgia businesses, hospitals (quotes MAG Legal Counsel Bethany Sherrer)
Savannah Now
Legislation aimed at shielding Georgia businesses and health care providers from lawsuits brought by people who contract coronavirus cleared the General Assembly Friday night during the final hours of this year’s legislative session. | READ MORE
Letting APRNs order diagnostic imaging could worsen overuse (features MAG)
AMA Wire
The Medical Association of Georgia and the AMA are urging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to veto a state Senate bill that would allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to order CT scans, MRIs and other advanced diagnostic imaging because the move is likely to “increase health care costs and threatens the health and safety of patients in Georgia.” | READ MORE
CDC revises guidelines for COVID-19 testing (features MAG President Andrew Reisman, M.D.)
Fox 5 Atlanta
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published its revised COVID-19 testing guidelines this week. According to the new guidelines, people who have been in close contact with an infected person "do not necessarily need a test" if they do not have symptoms. | READ MORE
Physicians urge steps against flu to avoid worsening load on health system (features MAG President Andrew Reisman, M.D.)
The Times
As flu season approaches, local physicians are encouraging patients to get vaccinated to prevent hospitalizations and severe cases of flu interacting with COVID-19. | READ MORE
MAG & MedPro collaboration to provide leading med-mal solution in Georgia
MAG Press Release
The Medical Association of Georgia has announced that it is collaborating with MedPro Group – the nation’s largest and highest-rated health care liability insurance carrier ­– to provide an industry-leading medical malpractice solution for physicians in Georgia. | READ MORE
Health care’s new reality in Georgia (features MAG President Andrew Reisman, M.D. & former AMA President Patrice Harris, M.D.)
Georgia Trend
Very little on the health care landscape looks the way it did when the year started. If you had a doctor’s appointment, a hospital stay or an ER visit in January or February, you had a very different experience than you would today. It’s kind of like flying in August 2001 before events of 9/11 changed air travel forever. Almost as suddenly, the COVID crisis has altered health care. | READ MORE
Feds OK Georgia’s second waiver plan, but controversies remain
Georgia Health News

Federal officials, as expected, have approved Georgia’s waiver request to revamp the state’s health insurance market for people who don’t get job-based or government coverage. | READ MORE
Nurse practitioners challenge AMA on practice authority, care access (mentions MAG)
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners has published an open letter to the American Medical Association, lambasting the group for its stance on nurse practitioner practice authority and how it can affect high-quality patient care access. | READ MORE
DPH provides update on COVID-19 in Georgia
DPH News Release
The Georgia Department of Public Health is providing the following information regarding the fight against COVID-19 in Georgia. | READ MORE
ABMS Draft Standards for Continuing Certification Call for Comments delayed until April 2021 due to COVID-19
ABMS Press Release
The American Board of Medical Specialties had been prepared to release the Draft Standards for Continuing Certification – Call for Comments in early December, however, the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases, which has placed additional burden on the already stressed health care system, has prompted ABMS to postpone the opening of the public comment period. | READ MORE
COVID cases hit daily Georgia and U.S. records
Georgia Health News
Georgia shattered its record for single-day increases of new COVID cases, with 6,601 reported Friday. | READ MORE
State wants health insurers to stop clogging hospital space
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Desperate for relief, administrators at [Northeast Georgia Medical Center] turned to Georgia Insurance Commissioner John King for help. King has devised a plan to help relieve overrun emergency rooms, hoping to avert a public health disaster when another expected surge of coronavirus infections hits after Christmas. | READ MORE
Advertise with MAG: Please contact Tom Kornegay at 678.303.9260 or if you are interested in running an ad in the Georgia Pulse, which is a weekly compilation of media reports that are related to health care and the medical profession. It is sent to more than 6,000 physicians in Georgia.
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